The answer from Lance Stroll (Prema Power Team) was awaited, and the Canadian just gave it. The second weekend of the Italian F.4 Championship powered by Abarth in Imola, started with Stroll fighting back his classification rivals Andrea Russo (Diegi Motorsport) and Leonardo Pulcini (Euronova by Fortec), claiming the victory in the opening race. Russo and Pulcini joined Stroll on the podium after chasing him throughout the whole race.
The good day of Prema Power Team at circuit Enzo e Dino Ferrari, started with qualifying where the team placed both its drivers on top. Lance Stroll and the French Brandon Maisano posted the quickest times in both sessions and the Canadian earned therefore the pole position for today’s race 1 and also for tomorrow’s race 3. On top of that he also earned a double Pole Position Prize by WSK Promotion. Qualifying also produced other interesting names as that of the Russian Ivan Matveev (SMP Racing) that was third and the Italian Mattia Drudi (F&M), fourth with a crescendo of performance.
Race one has been quite tight and the competition has been fierce behind the pairing Stroll-Maisano. The TV live coverage on Rai Sport 2 has been made interesting by the spectacular duel between Russo and Pulcini, with Matteo Cairoli (Antonelli Motorsport) trying to slide in this fighting duo. This happened after Matveev was slowed down by an off and Drudi slipped down due to a spin at the Variante Alta. Among the drivers competing in the Championship (Maisano is racing for the Italian F.4 Trophy Powered by Abarth) the challenge for P2 inflamed spectators and it has been a shame that Cairoli, thata displayed a good shape so far, was also slowed down by the heat of the race.
A great spectacle on the benches of Santerno finally highlighted Russo’s performance over Pulcini. The two have been following Stroll and Maisano at a short distance as the leading duo kept going until the end. Behind the winner Stroll, Maisano was first in the Trophy and was followed by the driver from Malta Keith Camilleri (Malta Formula Racing) and by the Asian Bahrain Ali Al Khalifa (Jenzer Motorsport). The driver from Malta showed a good race pace, closing the race behind Pulcini and winning an interesting battle with the Swiss Alan Valente (Jenzer Motorsport) and the American Zackary Dante (Malta Formula Racing). A nice final has seen Drudi crossing the line in eighth place at the end of a stunning come back from the last position. Bitter end instead for Russo, who was relegated behind Pulcini by stewards as he was caught ignoring yellow flags.
A perfect race for Lance Stroll (Prema Power Team), started on Race-3’s pole he was the first to get the chequered flag. The race ended the 6th Aci Racing Weekend at the circuit Enzo e Dino Ferrari of Imola went the Canadian ways. Stroll won yesterday’s Race-1 and got the lead of the charts of the Italian F.4 Championship powered by Abarth. The second place harvested this morning in Race-2 followed by the win at the end of the day allowed the Canadian to strengthen his lead with a string of solid results.
The day started with Race-2 with top ten grid inversion based on Race-1’s result. The Brazilian Gustavo Bandeira (Dav Racing) started from the pole position. He was passed by Andrea Russo (Diegi Motorsport) and by a very determined Mattia Drudi (F&M) at the start. The challenge among the two last about half race when Drudi moved a successful attack to Russo and then started progressively to pull away. The French driver Brandon Maisano and the Canadian Lance Stroll (both racing for Prema Power team), kept recovering positions as they started from row 5. The pairing managed to get into Russo’s slipstream and during the last lap the Italian was attacked by Maisano. A contact between the two at Tamburello chicane took Russo off the battle for the podium as he got a puncture in the episode. The race ended with Drudi crossing the line in first, Stroll in second and the Swiss Alan Valente (Jenzer Motorsport) third, ahead of Leonardo Pulcini (Euronova by Fortec). The episode at the last lap was sanctioned by Stewards with a 5 place grid penalty issued to Maisano.
Race-3 ended a good round of the Italian F.4. From the fights on track behind Stroll, Matteo Cairoli (Antonelli Motorsport) emerged in second place, while bad luck hit Drudi at the getaway who started from the first row. Good attack race for Russo. He attacked Cairoli despite some serious damage to the front wing of his Tatuus T014 done in the heat of the start. Maisano managed anyway to take them both as he managed to get behind Stroll. Russo’s grit could not anything against his damaged aero and he was later on forced to an early retirement. Pulcini inherited his place behind Cairoli but was overtaken by the Russian Ivan Matveev (SMP Racing) at halfway through. The podium of the championship saw Stroll, Cairoli and Matveev in the order, while Maisano won the separate classification of the Italian F.4 Trophy powered by Abarth.
The Championship’s standings see now Stroll on top with 119 points, Russo is second at 68 and Pulcini third at 66. Valente made some progress in fourth at 52, followed by Cairoli at 33 and Matveev and Drudi, in sixth equal at 32 points. The next round of the Championship is scheduled for next 13 July at Mugello.
The three races of the Italian F.4 Championship powered by Abarth will be shown deferred by Dinamica Channel next Thursday 3 July starting from 19:00hrs.
Info and Photo ACI Sport